April 29, 2016
Have your eyes been looking a little tired or droopy lately? Think they could use a little lift? Maybe you’re a good candidate for a blepharoplasty.
Blepharoplasty is the medical term for a “lid lift” or “eyelid lift.” This term can apply to the upper eyelid or the lower eyelid; an upper eyelid lift is called an upper blepharoplasty.
During an upper blepharoplasty, the surgeon removes excess skin and/or fatty tissue that contribute to sagging or heaviness of the upper eyelid. Sometimes a thin strip of muscle is removed to help decrease the bulk.
In the lower eyelid, sometimes the skin is loose from the eyeball and can benefit from tightening. This procedure is called a canthoplasty/canthopexy, and can be done at the same time as a blepharoplasty.
You may be a candidate for upper blepharoplasty if you have heaviness, puffiness, or drooping of the upper eyelid. Removing excess tissue in the upper eyelid area can help you look younger.
Loose skin and bagginess of the lower eyelid treated with lower blepharoplasty (and possible canthopexy/canthoplasty) can improve this tired look.
Some patients require upper blepharoplasty for a medical reason—to improve their field of vision. In such patients, the heaviness and drooping of the upper eyelid impacts the ability to see because the eye and surrounding muscles may have to work harder to lift the eyelid to stay open.
A lower eyelid lift is generally considered cosmetic since it primarily rejuvenates the appearance without a functional benefit.
If you feel or look tired in the area around your eyes, you may want to consider an upper blepharoplasty. Sometimes one eye is “droopier” than the other; this condition (called ptosis) may require repair of the eye muscle that helps control eyelid movement. Sometimes the feeling of heaviness in the eye area is due to drooping eyebrows, in which case a brow lift would be recommended. Blepharoplasty will not remove “crow’s feet” or wrinkles around the eyes, eliminate dark circles under the eyes, or lift sagging eyebrows. (Upper blepharoplasty will not get rid of lower eyelid “bags” since it is limited to the upper eyelids; if this is your main concern, you will want to consider lower blepharoplasty.)
In an upper blepharoplasty, the surgeon makes an incision along the upper eyelid crease to remove excess skin. Any bulging pockets of fat can also be removed at this time. The incision is then closed using dissolvable and/or non-dissolvable sutures (during your post-operative office visit). Eyelid skin tends to heal quite well. The resulting scar is usually a fine line that is well hidden in the eyelid crease.
After the surgery there may be bruising, swelling, and some eye irritation. This should improve over the course of one to two weeks. As with any surgery, there is the chance of bleeding, pain, infection, damage to nearby structures, and risks related to anesthesia. These are not common. Some considerations specific to blepharoplasty include the risk of dry eye problems, corneal exposure, and other uncommon risks your surgeon can review with you in more detail.
Recovery from the procedure generally takes one to two weeks. You should avoid heavy lifting and heavy exertion for about two weeks. If you have a desk job, you can likely return to work within a week.
Remember, though—eyelid surgery does not stop the aging process. With time, eyelid skin can continue to grow and stretch. In this case, you may consider blepharoplasty again at a later point.
If you think you need an eyelid lift or just want to know what options are available for perking up tired eyes, schedule a consultation with your plastic surgeon to learn what options are best suited for you.
Dr. Grace Yu is a cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon at Riverside Medical Clinic. She attended Phillips Exeter Academy, and graduated from Princeton University. She completed her medical training at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and her internship and residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Southern California (LAC + USC Medical Center). Her practice is located at 7117 Brockton Ave. in Riverside and she can be contacted at (951) 782-3796.
Riverside Medical Clinic is the largest private provider of ambulatory care in the Inland Empire.
If you’d like to find a general physician or a specialist, call the clinic’s physician referral line at (951) 782-3602 or go to www.riversidemedicalclinic.com for an online physician directory by location and specialty.